The business wisdom of the Beatles.

At last: a business book on the Beatles! Richard Courtney (a real estate broker, columnist, and Beatles collector) and George Cassidy (a business writer, analyst,and songwriter) have recently co-authored 'Come Together: The Business Wisdom of the Beatles'.

It's an easy-read, full of practical & pithy lessons (from the Beatles' successes and failures) that you can apply as an entrepreneur, business owner, manager, or employee.

Here's one example: get better business guidance than the Beatles got. 'For all his other virtues, Brian Epstein was grossly inexperienced in negotiating licensing, merchandising, publishing, and recording contracts.' This may have cost the band a billion dollars in today's money!

Last month I caught up with Courtney and Cassidy at a Beatles festival. Here's an abbreviated version of my interview.


Rebecca Black tweaks Dylan classic.

Call me out-of-touch, but I only found out today who Rebecca Black is and just now viewed her paradigm-shattering YouTube video "Friday" (which has been watched by one million viewers since I last brushed my teeth).

But here's the reverse problem: young audiences are so disconnected from the past—and unaware of the roots of popular music—that many are unaware of the original Dylan version of "Friday."


Beyond the carrot patch: motivate thyself!

One of so many things that the best rock groups can teach us about team performance is the value of self-direction.

Most of the top bands—from the Beatles to U2 to Green Day—have operated with a maximum of personal autonomy. No one was peeking over their shoulder, micromanaging them, directing them what to write or how to play.

This is helped by the fact that bands usually hire and fire their managers, not the other way around, which makes it abundantly clear who works for whom. (See my earlier post on this.)

The importance of personal autonomy was brought home to me again reading psychologist Edward Deci's 1995 classic "Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-Motivation"—based on decades of research by himself, colleague Richard Ryan, and others.

Their experiments overwhelmingly confirmed a significant (and heterodox) proposition: under most conditions individuals and teams operate best when motivated by intrinsic values, and worst when motivated by external controls and contingent rewards, including monetary bonuses. ("Contingent" means if you do or achieve X then you'll be rewarded—the classic carrot approach.)